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They’re Going to Dump the Fukushima Radiation Into the Ocean Washington’s Blog

They’re Going to Dump the Fukushima Radiation Into the Ocean Washington’s Blog.

Yup … They’re Going to Dump It

Tepco is planning on dumping all of the radioactive water stored at Fukushima into the ocean.

Others are pushing them to do this as well.

As EneNews reports:

Juan Carlos Lentijo, head of IAEA’s mission to Fukushima Daiichi, Dec. 4, 2013: “Controlled discharge is a regular practice in all the nuclear facilities in the world. And what we are trying to say here is to consider this as one of the options to contribute to a good balance of risks and to stabilize the facility for the long term.”

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, Dec. 4, 2013: “You cannot keep storing the water forever. We have to make choice comparing all risks involved.”

Xinhua, Dec. 4, 2013: Lentijo said that TEPCO should weigh the possible damaging effects of discharging toxic water against the total risks involved in the overall decommissioning work process. […] Tanaka highlighted the fact that while highly radioactive water could be decontaminated in around seven years, the amount of water containing tritium will keep rising, topping 700,000 tons in two years. […] nuclear experts have repeatedly pointed out that [tritium] is still a significant radiation hazard when inhaled, ingested via food or water, or absorbed through the skin. […] fisherman, industries and fisheries bodies in the Fukushima area and beyond in Japan’s northeast, have collectively baulked at the idea of releasing toxic water into the sea […] TEPCO will be duty-bound to submit assessments of the safety and environmental impact […]

NHK, Dec. 4, 2013: IAEA team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo […] said it is necessary and indispensable to assess the impact the tritium discharge might have on human health and the environment, and to get government approval as well as consent from concerned people.

Japan Times, Dec. 4, 2013: “Of course . . . public acceptance for this purpose is necessary,” said Lentijo, adding strict monitoring of the impact of the discharge would also be essential.

AFP, Dec. 4, 2013: [L]ocal fishermen, neighbouring countries and environmental groups all oppose the idea.

See also: Gundersen: They want to dump all Fukushima’s radioactive water in Pacific — Tepco: It will be diluted, then released — Professor suggests pumping it out in deep ocean (VIDEOS)

In the real world, there is no safe level of radiation.

And there are alternatives.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani  – a recognized expert on nuclear power, who has testified  before Congress, served as an expert witness in Nuclear Regulatory Commission proceedings, and been interviewed by many of the largest news organizations – told PBS in March:

We actually sent a proposal to Japan two years ago, some colleagues of mine and I, saying you should park a supertanker or a large tanker offshore, and put the water in it, and send it off someplace else so that the water treatment and the water management is not such a huge, constant issue. But [the Japanese declined].

Unfortunately, Japan has devolved into a crony capitalist tyranny. Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has been insanely irresponsible and has only been pretending to contain Fukushima. And see this.

So instead of doing something to contain the radiation, they’re going to dump it.

Postscript: In related news, the Japanese government has embarked on a massive program ofburning radioactive waste throughout Japan … instead of encapsulating it in glass or otherwise containing it.

Fukushima fuel rod removal biggest nuclear risk in 50 years — Transition Voice

Fukushima fuel rod removal biggest nuclear risk in 50 years — Transition Voice.

Fukushima sign

Removal of 1,300 spent fuel rods deemed “humankind’s most dangerous moment since Cuban Missile Crisis”

Regulators with Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the final OK Wednesday for the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to begin to remove the 1300 spent fuel rods from the badly damaged Unit 4 pool, thus initiating a decommissioning process which anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman describes as “humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

According to Associated Press, the NRA announced that the proposal to manually remove the radioactive rods put forth by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. or TEPCO, was “appropriate” and that the removal “can start in November as planned, following an on-site inspection by regulators.”

TEPCO estimates that the complete decommissioning process will last decades. Detailing the process, AP reports:

TEPCO has prepared a massive steel structure that comes with a remote-controlled crane to remove the fuel rods, which will be placed into a protective cask and transferred to a joint cooling pool inside a nearby building. To make room for the Unit 4 fuel rods, the company has been moving those already in the joint pool to safer storage in dry casks at a separate plant location.

The utility plans to empty the Unit 4 pool by end of 2014, and remove fuel rods from other pools at three other wrecked reactors over several years before digging into their melted cores around 2020.

However, according to nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, the spent fuel rods in the Unit 4 core are “bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling.” And NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka warned that removing the rods would be difficult because of the risk posed by debris that fell into the pool during the explosions triggered by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and subsequent three reactor meltdowns at the plant.

“It’s a totally different operation than removing normal fuel rods from a spent fuel pool,” Tanaka said during the news conference Wednesday. “They need to be handled extremely carefully and closely monitored. You should never rush or force them out, or they may break.”

Wasserman warns that there are “some 400 tons of fuel in that pool [that] could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.”

Wasserman, Gundersen and other nuclear watchdogs have warned that neither TEPCO nor the Japanese government has the “scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle” the job and that the situation instead demands a “coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.”

Over 100,000 people have thus far signed a petition echoing that call.  “The impending removal of hugely radioactive spent fuel rods from a pool 100 feet in the air presents unparalleled scientific and engineering challenges,” caution the signatories, who are calling on President Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to intercept the Japanese authority’s process. “We ask the world community…to take control of this uniquely perilous task.”

– Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams

 

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